Study Guide

Great Expectations

by Charles Dickens

Great Expectations Lesson Plan - Chapters 31–35

Chapters 31–35


chary: hesitant; cautious

cogent: convincing

conflagration: blazing fire

droll: having a humorous, whimsical, or odd quality

ecclesiastical: of or relating to a church

edifying: providing moral instruction or improvement

fetters: chains or shackles for the feet

hardihood: boldness

infallible: incapable of error

interment: burying a body in the earth or in a tomb

jocose: joking; playful

languidly: weakly; sluggishly

magnates: persons of rank, power, influence, or distinction

malignity: ill will; viciousness

meritorious: deserving of honor or esteem

obsequious: showing a fawning attentiveness

pallor: paleness in the face

paroxysm: a sudden violent emotion or action

patronage: kindness asserted with an air of superiority

peals: loud sounds heard in succession; often used to describe bells, laughter, or thunder

Study Questions

1. What role does Mr. Wopsle perform in a play? Why does Pip feel sorry for him?

Mr. Wopsle plays Hamlet. Pip feels sorry for Wopsle because the audience heckles him for much of the play and because Wopsle considers himself to be a more gifted actor than Pip finds him to be.

2. Where does Wemmick take Pip before Pip meets Estella? Describe the extended metaphor Pip uses to describe Wemmick and the place they visit.

Wemmick gives Pip a tour of Newgate prison where many of Mr. Jaggers’s clients are imprisoned. Pip compares Wemmick to a gardener in his greenhouse. Pip watches Wemmick move among the cells discovering who has turned up in the prison just as a gardener might look at his plant collection to discover new sprouts. When Wemmick and Pip meet a condemned man, Pip continues the metaphor by musing that a condemned man is to Wemmick like a dead plant that will soon be replaced.

3. On his visit, how does Wemmick use his “guiding-star” philosophy about portable property?

He secures a promise of a pair of pigeons from the condemned soldier.

4. What is the unwelcome significance for Pip of encountering prison and crime as part of his London experience?

Pip hoped to leave behind the association with crime and convicts that had been part of his common country life. His earliest memory is his encounter with the convict in the churchyard, and his encounters with Mr. Jaggers’s job and clients make him feel that he is not done with the secrets and fears of his childhood. He has a sense that the “taint of prison and crime” on his life is “like a stain that was faded but not gone.”


(The entire section is 1168 words.)

Ed. Scott Locklear, Michael Foster